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Keely Hodgkinson of Great Britain and Athing Mu of the US competed in the women’s 800-metre final for gold and silver during the 2022 Eugene World Athletics Championships. It was a repeat finish order for the two to their gold and silver performances during the Tokyo Olympic Games final.
During Tokyo, the two athletes captured the attention of athletics fans, as they both ran negative splits, which is unusual for the 800m. Both were just 19 years of age and had run fast times finishing in 1:55.18 and 1:55.88, respectively.
Over the final 50m there was a gap between the two athletes that Hodgkinson wanted to close the next time that the two faced each other. It wasn’t until the Eugene World Championships that the two would race each other again.
2am here in Eugene & still coming down from the emotions of that epic Women’s 800m final @WCHoregon22 – sooooo close this time but being number 2 in the world 🌍 isn’t a bad tag to carry! Congrats 🥳 @keelyhodgkinson & @Faster_feet pic.twitter.com/poqseSV6Sl— Jenny Meadows (@JennyMeadows800) July 25, 2022
Coming out of the final bend and racing with all that they had, the two appeared to be headed to the same finish with Mu winning gold and Hodgkinson silver. However, Hodgkinson saw space between the inside rail and Mu and went for it. For a moment, it appeared that Hodgkinson was going to close the gap and pass Mu, but the Briton had nothing more to give and finished a very close second. They clocked finish times of 1:56.30 and 1:56.38, respectively.
From the main camera angle it appeared that Mu may have impeded Hodgkinson enough to prevent her from passing. The commentators were unsure at first and speculation by running fans continue to appear to be divided.
Hodgkinson’s coach Jenny Meadows told Athletics Illustrated on Friday, “It can look that way a little bit but Keely says they never touched at any point and she didn’t feel impeded.”
So, the answer is no, Mu did not impede Hodgkinson at any time. The latter, however, did close that gap and nearly challenged for the gold.
“Keely was happy with her race but not satisfied. To be only .08 away from gold is a fantastic achievement but allows you to continue to aim for more!”
The two raced during the spring and early summer, but never against each other. Neither appeared to be as sharp as they were in Tokyo, until the Eugene final. They then put on a great performance for the spectators in one of the great clashes of the Eugene meet. As they are both still only 20-years-old, this rivalry may go on for at least another decade.
Also in the race was 22-year-old Kenyan Mary Moraa, who took bronze. She has emerged on the international racing scene as of late and is proving to be a great 800m competitor as well.
Ethiopia’s Diribe Welteji age 20 finished fourth. There is a definite youth movement going on in the women’s 800m at this time.
Racing this season is not over with the Commonwealth Games just starting and more Diamond League meets running in Europe as well as the European Athletics Championships in August.
|1||Athing MU||USA||1:56.30 WL|
|2||Keely HODGKINSON||GBR||1:56.38 SB|
|3||Mary MORAA||KEN||1:56.71 PB|
|4||Diribe WELTEJI||ETH||1:57.02 PB|
|5||Natoya GOULE||JAM||1:57.90 SB|